The clock is ticking before bodybuilding’s best athletes step on the sport’s biggest and baddest stage. In a special Cutler Cast podcast for peak week, Jay Cutler, Dennis Wolf, and Milos Sarcev revealed paths to victory for Hadi Choopan, Samson Dauda, and Derek Lunsford days before competing at 2023 Mr. Olympia.
“He’s the man to beat. Of course, there is so many guys, there are five guys that can possibly win but the question is how do they look next to Hadi? Hadi is a champion. To be the champion, you need to knock him out,” said Dennis Wolf.
The Men’s Open class has undergone significant changes since 2022 Mr. Olympia wrapped up. Most notably, mass monster Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay
was knocked off his throne by Hadi Choopan. Meanwhile, former 212 Olympia champ Derek Lunsford secured second place in his first Open competition and Nick Walker
The public consensus among bodybuilding veterans is that Choopan won’t retain his title. Making matters more complicated, Samson Dauda
emerged victorious against Walker at the 2023 Arnold Classic
. With everyone aiming to bring their best, Wolf, Sarcev, and Cutler assessed the lineup competing this weekend.
“He’s There To Fight” – Milos Sarcev Discusses Hadi Choopan w/ Jay Cutler & Dennis Wolf
According to Milos Sarcev, Hadi Choopan
is improving from show to show and is reaching the “prime time”
years of his bodybuilding tenure.
“This is peaking time when you’re at your best. Hadi is like 35, 36 years old, so he’s in prime time. Improving from show to show, I did mention this in the last outing was his worst condition. I saw people oh you’re talking bad. No. He was still better conditioned than anybody else but for him, that was worse. So what he needs to bring for sure, he is bringing a little bit more conditioning.”
Unlike his adversaries, Sarcev underlined that Choopan doesn’t take breathers on stage and expects that he’ll be at his all-time best.
“You see him eight weeks out how compact, how lean he was… so he’s bringing heat. I think this is going to be his all-time best Hadi. You said before maybe he’s a little boxy, okay. From a shape aspect filter, aesthetics, you don’t think he’s super shapely because he’s kind of squarey looking right? Not a wide waist, but a little bit wider. A squary looking quads, not Dennis Wolf sweeping right… people have to put this in the right context.
Hadi is huge, thick, wide, complete, nothing missing, and crazy condition and what you said, the presentation is next to none. I talked to some judges and they love his posing. That little extra that he brings when he snaps into it. Confidence, not arrogance. Try to find a picture on the stage where he’s less than perfect. Many guys relax. Many guys take a breather. Not him. And he’s there to fight,” said Milos Sarcev.
Even though Cutler has publicly backed Lunsford to come out on top, he can’t deny Choopan’s strengths:
“I mean listen, pecs, abs… no one’s going to touch him, right? When he stands there, the midsection, this shot, [most muscular] it’s just wild right… you know when I was looking at a front double biceps, we rave about Derek and the front double we’ll get to him next, his [Hadi Choopan] is pretty impressive,” explained Jay Cutler.
As for Derek Lunsford, Cutler cautioned against overzealous expectations.
“What we’ve seen of Derek, our expectations, he’s going to be better. It’s a full year of being out of the other division. Our expectations maybe might be too high of expectations. That happens right?” said Jay Cutler. “Anyone in the media that I talk to or a fan or whatever else, who is going to win the Olympia, they tell me Derek.”
Wolf has been impressed with Lunsford’s rise in the IFBB Pro League. Adding to Wolf’s sentiment, Sarcev credited Lunsford as a top threat who proved himself on the judges’ scorecards last year.
“If you look at his history [Derek Lunsford], he got there pretty quick. I remember he won the USAs then went straight into the Olympia and was top five or something. Tampa then qualified for Olympia two weeks later and bang bang bang, so I think that’s why people are expecting that. It’s not bad. I would love to see him winning but like I said, it’s tough, so tough,” said Dennis Wolf.
“He won on some judge’s scorecards last year so this is what they are looking for. Oh, gee, some judges, I think it was one point after prejudging I don’t know exactly afterward, but some judges saw him being Mr. Olympia already. So he’s going to bring improvements, much better, bigger, and harder,” said Milos Sarcev.
If Samson Dauda can bring improved conditioning, Cutler and Dennis Wolf believe he can win the 2023 Olympia title.
“He needs to be a little bit more improved from the Arnold. I know he’s definitely bigger. You said he’s coming in more condition. You said there’s a couple of tweaks of the poses, the silhouette you sent me today was crazy,” said Jay Cutler.
“People harped on his back which has improved. I hate to even talk about it because I don’t want to pinpoint it. He’s balanced. He’s very balanced.”
“I agree with you. We’ve never seen somebody like that at that size. I mean, that could be something which is going to be – I mean if he wins… he’s going to be very hard to beat the next couple of years, that’s my opinion of course. But first he has to win,” added Wolf.
In addition, Wolf and Cutler emphasized the danger of Nick Walker at this year’s Olympia, stressing that he’s never back-stepped on the big stage.
“He [Nick Walker] brings it every time. Every time he has said something, he proves everyone wrong. Everyone,” Wolf shared
“He says he’s moving up. Okay, so he’s either going to be second or first… he says this — I have to believe it. How hard is it to take that step…” wonders Cutler.
The Mr. Olympia contest wouldn’t be complete without insights from our beloved bodybuilding legends. Alongside Cutler, Samir Bannout, Dennis James, Ronnie Coleman
, and Chris Cormier predict Lunsford will overtake Choopan on the 2023 Mr. Olympia stage. Earlier this year, William Bonac supported Choopan’s chances
of success while Sarcev and Zack Khan both voted for Samson Dauda.
Lee Priest expects Nick Walker to win his first respective Sandow trophy. Given the differences in opinion, it’s safe to say the 2023 Mr. Olympia Weekend will deliver shocks, upsets, and surprises. It all goes down from November 2-5 in Orlando, Florida so keep it locked on Fitness Volt for the latest information surrounding the mega event!
Watch the full video from the Cutler Cast YouTube channel below:
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